The Death Knell for Energy Conservation

It comes down to simple math.

We purchased our building on the square with the intent of taking our time renovating it (as money allows) and eventually ramping it up into our business.

Accordingly, we wanted to keep the utilities and other expenses as low as practical so we have more money to apply where it’s needed.

We spent a fair amount of time reducing unneeded electrical loads, shutting off extra lights, converting others to fluorescent, killing the electric water heater, etc to save electricity.

We managed to cut the usage by 10%.

That almost tripled our bill.

Let me repeat that. By cutting our usage by 10% we almost tripled our bill.

The going rate for small commercial users right now in Texas is 6 cents a kilowatt hour. The “overhead”…which covers equipment and line maintenance is a separate charge (calculated, as best as we can tell, by magic).

However, Texas law allows “competition” for electrical providers…that is to say…the law prohibits me from buying from the generator operators and requires a bunch of middle men to be in the…well…middle.

The “competition” is supposed to keep the rates low.

The problem is…there is no rule that they have to treat all customers the same…charge them the same rate etc…basically, if you are a small user they don’t want to deal with you…and they can charge you whatever they want.

So…we dropped our consumption from an average of 500 kwh/month…

500 kwh @ 6 cents/kwh = $30

…to an average of 450 kwh/month. A “pricing tier” kicked in on our next contract renewal.

450 kwh @ 18 cents/kwh = $81

Yep, my bill went up over $50/month when I cut my usage.

Essentially, I can use 1350 kwh per month for the same price.

1350 kwh @ 6 cents/kwh = $81

I like lights. Use more, it costs less.

What do you think I’m going to do?

no conservation zone

No conservation zone

Daniel Meyer

(note: We also suffered a 30% penalty on our house for the same reason…we are still “negotiating” rates and contracts on both buildings at this point)

About Daniel Meyer

Author. Adventurer. Electrician.
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